Future sparkles for UAE-Israeli diamond trade

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Recent normalization between Israel and the UAE is seen as “a game-changer” by diamond dealers in Dubai.
Since the two nations struck an agreement last month, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) has had more than three dozen requests from Israeli diamond dealers who want to set up shop in the Arab hub.

Prior to that, any trade had to be processed through third-party countries or risked being stopped by UAE banks if Israeli links were spotted.

Alex Peterfreund is the Dubai managing director of diamond trader Espeka. He feels Israelis are “the missing link” of Dubai’s diamond industry.

“I’ think that the fact that the Israelis could not come here and had difficulties to come here, will change, I mean for me it is a game-changer.”

Dubai traded $21.2 billion in diamonds last year, while Israel weighed in with $12 billion-worth of diamond-based business.

For Israel, in which there is a substantial market for polished stones, Dubai offers closer links to India and connects it to the Arab world, where most countries still do not have formal ties with the Jewish state.

Israel Diamond Exchange president, Yoram Dvash.

“From my point of view, we see Dubai as a golden gate, kind of golden gate to all this area, not only to Dubai. We have the opportunity to make a partnership with them and they will get into Saudi Arabia, Oman and many other Arab countries that Israelis until today couldn’t reach.”

It could take time for any shift to become noticeable. This year has hit the industry hard, with mines, offices and retailers around the world forced into closure for several months.